Heroes is a technology-driven e-commerce company that acquires, operates, and scales small and medium-sized brands with category-winning products on a global scale.
Heroes was founded in 2020 by twin brothers Alessio and Riccardo Bruni, with the third Bruni brother, Giancarlo, joining as CFO in 2021. With its headquarters in London, UK, Heroes’ business model is to buy Amazon companies and scale them by expanding to different markets or launching new product lines. Their portfolio consists of various products, from yoga gear to gardening tools.
Before Payhawk, Heroes had just one card for the entire company, and every time someone wanted to make a payment, they had to ask for the card details. It wasn't secure or scalable, and as the company grew, it became hard to manage and track.
"As the only person in finance back then, I had to track all the payments at the end of the month," CFO Giancarlo Bruni explained. “I was literally finding invoices and sending emails, like; who spent £10 here and there? We couldn't control the month-end as we grew, and we needed more control over spending.”
"As the only person in finance back then, I had to track all the payments at the end of the month. I was finding invoices and sending emails, like; who spent £10 here? We couldn't control the month-end as we grew, and we needed more control over spending.”
Heroes knew they needed a solution that included corporate visa cards and smart expense management software to reduce admin and receipt chasing and increase control and visibility. Moreover, with such a complex business structure, Heroes knew that part of their growth journey would see them jump from Xero accounting software to the NetSuite ERP. And they wanted to ensure their chosen spend management solution could scale with them as they leapt.
Heroes' primary goal in introducing a spend management tool was to gain control over company expenses while letting employees independently manage their spending. Giancarlo Bruni and the team screened most expense management players on the market.
"The landscape of finance solutions is enormous. Most focus on a single area, e.g., expenses, payments, or invoice management, and are totally disconnected from each other," Bruni said. "With Payhawk, we have an all-in-one solution that covers all areas backed by a super-strong product team. As a result, we can focus on what really matters for us as a fast-growing startup instead of wasting time on admin stuff."
They decided on Payhawk for a few main reasons: functionality, corporate cards, expense management software, and accounting software and ERP integrations.
"One reason we picked Payhawk was because of the accounting and ERP integrations. When we first started using Payhawk, we were still using Xero, and it was seamless. So, we trusted Payhawk to help us achieve the same with the NetSuite integration. We wanted everything to flow into the ERP, and we knew that Payhawk would be a true scaling partner in this way," Bruni explained.
With Payhawk, Heroes manages company spending way more efficiently and securely. Our cards and software let them manage invoices, control spending with workflows and limits, issue cards in bulk, get real-time spend visibility, and much more. But, beyond these benefits, we've also supported them on their journey moving from accounting software to ERP.
"We use our ERP across all our departments. We have it in the People Team, for example, for payroll, taxes, etc. And in Supply Chain, too, for inventory planning, etc. It's relevant for every single department," Bruni shared.
Our direct integration with NetSuite lets their finance team:
-Click 'mark as reviewed,' and the invoices appear in NetSuite instantly
-Use the ERP as a central point of truth, including VAT rates, account codes, classes, and tracking categories, as we sync everything they need
-Save time matching and reconciling, as all expenses have both an invoice and payment date, so they can reflect the timing difference in accordance with the accruals and matching principle
-Use the 'true' transaction types as per the accounting/ ERP systems
-Avoid errors, as we don't use manual journals but instead use purchase invoices and bills, and then the bank receipts and payments
-Treat foreign exchange transactions correctly (as we apply the key concepts of IAS 21)
"Could we live without expense management and an ERP? Well, yes, but it would be like driving a 30-year-old car on its last legs — no comfort, no good experience, and definitely no speed. Maybe some businesses are happy to have a back office with 25 people punching in numbers, but it's not efficient, fast, or necessary," Bruni explained. "We prefer to automate, integrate, and save money on headcount!"
Eduardo Felipez, Management Accountant at Heroes, explained that for them and many fast-growing scaleup peers, the integration piece is one of the deal breakers when choosing a spend management solution to take care of cards, expenses, and more.
"We wouldn't work with an expense management provider that didn't have integration with NetSuite or another chosen ERP. We process 300-500 invoices a month. If our expense management solution didn't integrate with our ERP, we would have errors, and everything would be harder and take longer," shared Felipez.
At his previous company, Felipez explained that he spent most of his day syncing and updating data between the expense management software and the ERP because of an indirect, non 'native' integration. He shared that he spent one day per entity, meaning the more entities, the more days he spent manually managing data. Thankfully this is not the story at Heroes, and he has managed to reduce five days' work to just five hours.
"We have five entities in the Payhawk platform. And, in the parent company, we have 300-500 expenses a month. With the direct Payhawk integration to NetSuite, I no longer have to review, import and export, and put it in the correct format (which used to take me up to one day for one entity)," Felipez said. "With the direct NetSuite integration, I spend about an hour daily on this. It's an enormous help for me."
"We have five entities, with approx 300-500 expenses a month in the parent company. It used to take me one whole day per entity to review, import and export, and put the expenses in the correct format. With the direct Payhawk integration to NetSuite, I spend just an hour a day on this. It's an enormous help."
And the biggest benefit of all this synced data and improvement in the process (apart from saving time)? Better decision making.
"Data is key," Felipez explained. "But, data is not only key for senior management. I work in operations and always need information from the ERP for everyday decision-making. For example, expense controlling and if we need to top up or check something against the budget. Also, for supplier management. Everything is on the ERP, from prepayments to balance payments, and it gives us the data, so we don't make incorrect allocations or go back and forth with suppliers."
"As a CFO, I want to know how much money and profit we have in real-time and what levers I need to pull. We also need to know about our stock, including when it's arriving, how much is in transit, and if we need more. I can see all of this via my ERP, plus I can see spending in real-time thanks to the direct integration with my expense management software," Bruni explained.
Now, with a connected spend and expense experience, AP, invoice management, spend controls, and a seamless integration with NetSuite as their ERP, Heroes are well-positioned to make the best, most cost-effective, and impactful decisions for the business quickly and efficiently.
"Payhawk's direct integration with NetSuite is a game-changer. It's basically 'one click and done' to export any info. It's much more time-efficient and gives me real-time visibility on the ERP. Now, I can say how much we've spent, what we can spend, if we need to pause budgets, update budgets, optimise, etc., at any time," Felipez said. "If a Senior Leader says, what is this expense? And why are we spending so much here? I can comment and update policies in just a few clicks."
Ready to learn about seamlessly syncing spend with your ERP? Download our guide, How to select the right ERP x expense management integration for your scaleup. Or, if you're ready to take a step towards better business decision making, book a demo with us.